Some stores are continuing their sales until the end of the week.
Some stores are continuing their sales until the end of the week. Kevin Farmer

Are you splurging, or sticking to a tight budget?

BOXING Day bargains drew crowds to Lismore shops but tight budgets may have forced customers to focus on the cheapest goods available or long-awaited big ticket items rather than a splurge.

While department store managers reported increased sales on last year in the likes of Big W, Kmart and Spotlight and customers who had saved for X-Boxes and diamond rings were rewarded with discounts, the store manager at Strandbags said most of her customers were "keeping a low profile".

"We didn't get quite the result that we were expecting ... we were down on our last Boxing Day sale," she said.

The manager said Christmas sales were also slower than usual and when she asked customers how their Christmas shopping was coming along, most said "they weren't into it this year".

"Financially it was a struggle for a lot of people to be lavish this Christmas," she said.

"Food and 'secret Santa' was the most a lot of people could afford and Boxing Day sales were a similar thing.

"Today was very quiet, I was surprised.

"I thought we'd have as big a day as yesterday because a lot of people prefer to wait until after Boxing Day but we just didn't have the dollars coming in the door and that isn't like us."

Meanwhile, trolleys at Big W checkouts were loaded on Boxing Day, mostly with leftover Christmas goods including decorations, food and wrapping paper that were all 75% off original prices.

Store supervisor Kate McCleery said it was an exhausting day for staff but the day went "really well" and sales were up on last year; she said discount offers would continue in store until January 4.

"We were really busy and sale were significantly up on last year," said Kmart store manager John Maslin.

Mr Maslin said that as well as the "normal Boxing Day Christmas bargains" like those at Big W, customers were taking advantage of offers on sporting equipment, especially inflatable swimming pools.

Staff kept up a "good spirit" throughout the day, he said and the store still had "plenty of good bargains" available for shoppers who didn't make it in on Boxing Day.

A Harvey Norman spokeswoman said the electrical and computer departments were the busiest, with shoppers most interested in audio visual products.

"It's been chaotic," said House store manager Debbie Cumming, who was thanking herself for doubling the service team this year.

"We had a good day, we were up on last year but today is even busier."

Premium knife sets, reduced by $500, and commercial bake ware for $10 apiece were attracting a lot of her customers, she said, and the sale would continue until New Year's Eve.

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